Documentary on global health crisis of snake bites to be screened in D.C.

A special screening of “Minutes to Die,” a documentary which uncovers the little known global health crisis of snakebites, will be held at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29 at 6:00 p.m.

Directed by nine-time Emmy winning television producer James Reid, “Minutes to Die” uncovers the little known global health crisis of snakebites, which claims the lives of 46,000 each year in India and gives snakebite victims a voice and a powerful advocacy tool.

The documentary travels to five continents to capture the cries for help, the financial ruin families face to save loved ones and the heroic scientists rushing to create break-through solutions. Will world health powers and governments in endemic countries finally act after years of ignoring what they’ve know all along? Who in the world will become the champions of a voiceless population?

The Oct. 29 event is hosted by the Embassy of Costa Rica and the Lillian Lincoln Foundation, which has produced the film. The evening will include a panel with the World Health Organization's expert on snakebites and Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the U.S., Fernando Llorca, who helped push WHO to develop full strategy on tackling the issue. The panel will discuss ways on how to go about saving lives in India, along with the need for ideas and innovation from the Indian community.

A synopsis of the film on its website says that from “Sub-Saharan Africa to Southeast Asia, more than 500,000 snakebite victims die or suffer from lifelong disfigurement and amputations each year.” It says death from snakebites claim roughly the same number of lives every month, “as the total number of lives lost to Ebola since it’s outbreak in 2014.” Studies claim the rural poor fear snakebite, more than malaria, tuberculosis or HIV, the synopsis says.

On the film’s website, Reid says that the project has now become more than just a film. “I never thought I’d become an ‘expert’ of all things snakes,” he writes in the editor’s note on the film’s website. “I had never even touched one growing up. And never did I think this project would become more than just making a film. And now we want nothing more than the world to join the movement to bring snakebite out of the shadows and into the headlines.”

Lillian Lincoln Foundation was established in 1985 by Lillian Lincoln, founder of local television station KTSF Channel 26 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through the foundation, Lillian aimed to tell stories about the world that “she found engaging and had meaning to her in a documentary format.”

For more information, please email mtd@lillianlincolnfoundation.org.

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